Businesses have spent much of the past year scrambling to adapt to uncertain market conditions brought about by the global health crisis and other world events of 2020. As budgets tightened and physical channels were eliminated, executives were forced to find clever new ways to generate revenue with fewer resources. Marketing’s job quickly became full-time risk management: deploying new combinations of messaging and digital tactics to minimize disruption to the customer experience. Marketing needed to innovate and adapt with little to no historical data to guide them.
Predicting the future has never been more challenging, yet the need for innovation is more important than ever. It’s no wonder why Marketing Operations is a top priority for Global CMOs in 2021. The marketing ops function runs the infrastructure that empowers the rest of the marketing org to take action swiftly and confidently.
As we look ahead, we should take the opportunity to ask ourselves: how do we grow from here?
Below you’ll find 3 considerations for marketing operations teams as they look toward the future based on lessons from the past. You can watch a full discussion around these priorities and more in our most recent webinar, Marketing at the Speed of Change, now available on-demand.
“The COVID-19 crisis has created an imperative for companies to reconfigure their operations—and an opportunity to transform them. To the extent that they do so, greater productivity will follow.” – McKinsey
Priority #1 To agility and beyond!
Even over a year after digital acceleration amid budget cuts and layoffs, “approximately 90% of marketing leaders agree their function is under pressure to become more adaptive in order to deliver on [a] long-term strategy,” according to Gartner Predicts 2021. Marketing ops teams therefore should prioritize initiatives that will ensure marketing programs will be as cost-effective and productive as possible. The natural first step would be to perform an audit of existing processes, documentation and workflows to identify optimization opportunities before investing further in new technology and/or resources.
Furthermore, Forrester research finds that businesses who place the customer at the center of everything they do are more likely to succeed and grow. Therefore teams responsible for revenue—sales, marketing, customer success, and finance—must be aligned along every step of the customer journey in order to succeed. Disconnected data, redundant processes and misaligned priorities lead to interdepartmental friction and mistrust, which result in demoralized teams and, ultimately, clunky customer experiences.
This is why executives are increasingly turning to a new organizational model where marketing, sales and customer success operations work together as one data-driven, go-to-market function–known as Revenue Operations (RevOps).
Source: The Rise of Revenue Operations: A RevOps Infographic (2021), Clari
While an official RevOps team may not be do-able for every organization, it’s worth noting that marketing hyper-agility cannot be achieved without the highest levels of cross-departmental alignment and collaboration. The more leadership prioritizes operational transparency between departments–either through a weekly meeting or via an official org chart– the more a business can truly orient around the best possible customer experience.
Priority #2: Change plan-agement
As Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”
Within only a few months into 2020, most forward-looking plans were rendered useless. Marketing teams were forced to abruptly shift strategies and consolidate resources to accommodate changing customer demands and tighter budgets. But unlike years prior, this kind of disruption could not be reliably forecasted based on past performance or with predictive analytics using historical data.
Even with 2021 well under way, many marketing operations folks (myself included) are still assessing the business impact of COVID-19 on our marketing programs, revenue, and customer behavior overall. The days of annual budget planning are long gone, and they may never come back. Instead, marketing operations and business leadership should plan for change, and continue evolving the plan as changes occur. This means flexibility in the plan (think of backups) and more regular cross-functional planning discussions and reviews.
Priority #3 Data transparency and accessibility
In order to provide best-in-class customer experiences, you must provide timely, relevant touch points along the customer journey. To do that, though, sales and marketing teams should first be able to access and use credible, trusted insights to inform the engagements that follow.
Many businesses are still focused primarily on departmental goals, where teams plan to operate in their own technology stack, with their own budgets and resources. This model is proving to be increasingly ineffective and leads to siloed, disconnected data and processes that don’t add up. For example, when marketing is on a specific set of metrics (e.g. webinar attendees or whitepaper downloads) but sales isn’t closing business on revenue targets, achieving those goals doesn’t mean anything to anyone, especially the customer.
Additionally, the rise of Business Intelligence tools like Tableau and Looker has led to increased access for employees to perform daily data tasks with ease. However, without a single source of truth to measure and analyze the entire funnel, employees will continue to glean insights based on untrusted data sources and gut instinct.
In a perfect world, every department across the business would be in agreement around a single view of “success” data points. The individual departments should then roll-up attribution of programs that drive that success (also agreed upon cross-functionally). I recognize this is not an easy task, and something so many organizations struggle with today. This is yet another reason why organizations are turning to Revenue Operations functions and the Syncari Complete Data Automation Platform.
The Role Marketing Operations plays in the ‘Next Normal’
Even as we head into the “next normal’ I believe we will continue to feel the aftershocks of business disruption for years to come.
Marketing operations are in a prime position to leverage competencies as businesses push for greater agility, customer-centricity, and data accessibility. To meet these expectations, marketing operations priorities must be oriented around piloting and testing new initiatives in the areas of cross-functional data, planning, measurement, and agility that can make a transformational impact.
Be sure to check these topics in more detail with our on-demand virtual panel discussion, Marketing at the Speed of Change.
Syncari for Marketing Operations
The most successful organizations in the next normal will require a common view of the business that allows them to unify and optimize processes to power the revenue engine. More importantly, these organizations will need to provide a seamless customer journey that is flexible enough to update with changing demands and expectations.
Syncari’s complete data automation platform gives marketing teams total visibility into their business data and processes across the revenue engine. The point-and-click tool lets you unify data from any go-to-market system (i.e. Salesforce, Hubspot or Netsuite) then automate business processes with a graphical representation of your cross-system data.
Syncari is the only platform that also allows marketing teams to control for data quality and consistency across every system with centralized normalization, enrichment, merge, de-dupe actions directly in the platform. When new data emerges or new systems get connected to Syncari, they’ll inherit your business rules automatically, keeping everyone on the same page.
Ready to set up your team for success in the next normal?
See how Syncari can help your team with clean and simple customer views powered by data you can trust. Curious to see how? Request a demo today!